Chapter 9: Trying to Regain Favour
Heroism is often a transient state of being. There are heroes of the moment, heroes of a season and heroes of an era. Only very rarely, and it usually requires that you also be very dead, can a mere mortal be a hero for all eternity. Even then, with revisionist historians sifting through the bones of one's legacy, the skeletons are apt to come clattering out of the closet.
We love our heroes. But many is the time that we build them up only to tear them down. This is called empowerment of the people. Our admiration is on loan and can be recalled at any time. We extend to individuals all the perqs of idolatry, elevate them to dizzying heights, mount them on plinths of devotion. But woe betide the man or woman who is untrue to our expectations, who lets us down. Or maybe just starts to believe his own press clippings.
The public can be remorseless in its disdain of those who have betrayed our trust.
For athletes who fall down to earth, the shock of it can be overwhelming. It can happen in the blink of an eye or the slip of a tongue; it can occur slowly, in excruciating increments over the course of a season from hell. A handful, those with insight and a willingness for self-examination, can perhaps make sense of it all. But most, raised from their first childish flashes of brilliance in the comforting knowledge that they are better than all the rest, are ill-equipped to deal with failure - even in a sport like baseball, which is more about striking out than hitting home runs.Some, unfit to handle the whims of public sentiment, will become inconsolable. Others grow hard and niggardly with their feelings, distancing themselves from the disapprobation of the crowd. They will hurt you as you have hurt them. And some just keep stumbling and bumbling along, trying to regain your favour.
This chapter talks about Kelly Gruber but in the wake of so many players struggling and Colabello's PED ban, this quote feels really relevant to me. Discuss.